All Rose could think about through a quick dinner, tossing and turning to get to sleep, waking up, and working in the kitchen was Scott. It annoyed her to no end that she actually liked kissing him. Maybe she wanted that when she was sixteen, but that was when she was still a silly little girl with romantic notions about everything. She flung her measuring cup across the counter and grabbed a jar of raisins, imagining herself punching him in the face as she unscrewed the lid and dumped the contents into her mixing bowl.
Ada stood too close for comfort in this tiny kitchen, stirring the batter for a fruitcake sort of concoction. Without flour, they went with recipes Rose didn’t use very often, ones heavy on goo and smush. There was enough chocolate to make fudge, but no one needed that right now. They needed warm, filling things that tasted good. The Goddess knew no one else in town could manage that without it being soup or stew.
“Move.” She reached over Ada to grab another wooden spoon and set to mixing what she had, bumping her hip to get her to step out of the way. Stabbing her batter, she cranked her spoon through it viciously.
Ada frowned at her. “Who poured vinegar in your cookie dough?”
Ada shrugged and poured her batter into the first of four loaf pans. “You’re awfully cranky this morning.”
“I am not.” Picking up her bowl, Rose held it to her belly and went to stir it in the other corner of the kitchen, four steps away. They better fix her bakery up soon, or she’d go insane in this tiny space. A door shutting up the hall and boots walking down it made her turn to look. Of course, there was only one person it could be, and as soon as she noticed she had a stupid smile on her face, she scowled and turned her back on everything.
She heard Scott’s boots stop, then Ada said brightly, “Good morning. Would you like a scone? I saved a few for us before Kent took the rest to hand them out.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it. The bread last night was delicious, I’m sure this’ll be the same.”
“Here, take two. You’re a big, strong man. I’m sure you need more than just a little bite.” It sounded like Ada flirted with him, which made Rose’s blood boil. She stabbed her spoon into her bowl again.
“Thanks. I should get going so we can get you ladies back into your bakery as soon as possible.” His boots clomped off, then the door opened and slammed shut.
“What does it take to get these men to close the door nicely,” Rose growled. She turned around to see Ada smirking at her. She narrowed her eyes and glared back. “What?” she snapped.
“I see what’s going on.” Ada giggled as she took her filled loaf pans on a tray to the small oven.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Ada kept giggling as she filled the oven and as Rose glowered at her back. “So, ‘the bread’ last night was ‘delicious’?” Her eyes sparkled with mischief, and she grinned from ear to ear.
Rose sniffed and avoided her gaze. “Of course it was. I made it, and I don’t make lousy bread.”
“Mmhmmm.” Ada scooped up her bowl and spoon, taking them to the washbasin.
Rose stabbed her batter again. “Nothing happened.” The words came out crisp and harsh.
“Ha!” Ada pumped the tap to get water flowing and winced at the cold. “I saw him looking at you, and the way you looked when you knew he was coming. You like him.”
“Shut up.” Dropping her mixing bowl on the counter, she cleared away used tools to make a space for empty loaf pans, sending several metal cups tumbling to the floor. The clatter hurt her ears, and she threw up her hands with a frustrated grunt, then stalked out of the kitchen to go use the privy.
“Worse than I thought,” Ada called after her, words bright and delighted. “You’re falling for him!”
Those words, along with Ada’s laughter, made Rose stop, turn around, and march back to the kitchen. “I am not. He’s nothing but a traveling monster slayer, who thinks he can just take whatever he wants. I am not here to be won like some prize for whoever can manage to seduce the wench!”
Ada turned and gleefully covered her mouth with one hand. “Did he kiss you? Goddess bless! He did, didn’t he!”
Rose planted her fists on her hips. “And I slapped him for it, thank you very much!”
“But you liked it, I can tell. You had mushy face right before he walked in. Is he a good kisser? Did your knees go weak? Did he grab your bottom?”
“I am not now, nor have I ever been, interested in someone ‘grabbing my bottom’!”
“Why not?” Ada still had a wide grin as she turned and shook her behind with a toss of her head. “It’s fun. Makes you feel wanted and appreciated.”
“I already feel wanted and appreciated, every morning when people line up to buy my bread!”
Ada laughed at her again. “You can stop shouting, Rose. The only person you have to convince is yourself, and I’m pretty sure you can hear it even if you just whisper.”